Dr Yousaf Bhatti wins team award at the BCS Digital Summit 2022

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Dr Yousaf Bhatti, a cardiology registrar working across North East and Central London, won the team award for his proposed digital innovation project at the BCS Digital Innovations Summit, supported by Medtronic.

The Summit, chaired by BCS president Professor John Greenwood and organised by BCS honorary secretary Guy Lloyd, was an opportunity to hear from leaders in cardiology on the emerging organisational landscape and the future of clinical networks. In an engaging departure from the usual summit format, junior doctors were offered the opportunity to present their ideas for a digital project to improve cardiology care for patients.

Following submissions from teams around the country, four digital projects were chosen to present on the evening in front of a panel of expert cardiologists in a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style competition.

Dr Bhatti’s proposal was for a referrals app – a secure, intuitive, cross-platform, web-based application that connects all aspects of cardiovascular health care. The app would pull through all of the separate patient diagnostic information sources available across different monitoring systems and other data relating to the patient in real-time. Linked to the hospital’s own EHR, the app would be GDPR compliant.

The judges were impressed by all four teams and their ideas, but chose Dr Bhatti’s project for the broad scope and ingenuity of the app idea, and its ability to unite differing sources of information into one tool. Dr Bhatti wins £500 and free attendance at a BCS event. See below for details of the other teams and their projects.

The event also featured specialty leaders outlining the future of cardiology care. Professor Nick Linker, the national clinical director for heart disease, introduced the cardiac pathways programme, including the progress of the cardiac networks and how assessment against deliverables will take place.

Professor Amitava Banerjee, professor in clinical data science and honorary consultant cardiologist at UCL and Barts Health NHS Trusts gave an overview of available data sources in cardiology and the potential uses of genomic data and AI. Noting that much of the available genomic data is partial and heavily weighted towards people of European descent, Professor Banerjee warned against using technologies that could make health inequalities worse. We should concentrate on making better use of the data we already have on population and individual risk, with quicker reporting for national audits.

Dr Sarah Clarke, consultant cardiologist and clinical director for strategic development at Royal Papworth Hospital and Professor Simon Ray, consultant cardiologist and honorary professor of cardiology at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust guided the audience through the progress of GIRFT and the impact of the Cardiac Pathway Improvement Programme. The GIRFT team has now visited 60 hospitals, looking in detail at the cardiac data sources including HES and NICOR, and is building a picture of progress and where teams need support. The emphasis for CPIP is building services around cardiac networks, shared data and pathways that use a single point of entry to hospital rather than referral to individual consultants.

Dr Helen Williams, consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease, looked at progress against the national CVD priorities in primary care and Professor Stephen Powis, NHSE national medical director, talked about cardiovascular care in the context of the wider NHS. All speakers acknowledged the challenges of introducing new ways of working against a background of workforce, skills and resource shortages.

The other digital innovation proposals

Dr Ramesh Nadarajah, BHF clinical research fellow at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Leeds and a cardiology registrar, presented a digital clinical pathway to improve the diagnosis and care of patients with atrial fibrillation.

Dr Keenan Saleh, a cardiology registrar at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Pavidra Sivanandarajah, cardiology registrar at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College, presented a digitally-enabled AF pathway to seamlessly embed and implement smartphone-enabled remote monitoring, a robust digital platform and a remote monitoring hub.

Dr Nabila Laskar and Dr Nikhil Ahluwalia, cardiology registrars from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, presented a project using a machine-learning tool trained on their local EHR to identify hotspots of valve disease and heart failure, and AI-trained community echo workforce to perform targeted interventions.